For Het Financieele Dagblad, William van Beers and other container logistics companies indicated how they deal with the pressure and what the expectations are for this year.

It was already the case last year and, according to logistics companies and analysts, will not be much different in 2022: container transport capacity is insufficient to absorb the consequences of the corona pandemic and consumer shopping spree. It leads to a chaos of delays, congestion in ports and historically high container prices. The links in the logistics chain – shipping companies, terminals and carriers – can hardly cope with the influx of containers. Analysts from the British research agency Drewry recently wrote that the weaknesses in the international container chain are far from being eliminated.

They also identify a number of major risks for which companies must prepare. For example, strikes are threatening in the already overcrowded ports on the American west coast. And due to new corona infections, there is a good chance that terminals in China will close. Due to the international interdependence of container shipping, this has an effect in Europe.

The workload is high in the container chain. There is a daily battle to get containers to customers on time. 'It is wild west at the moment,' says Michiel van Dijk, director of logistics at inland shipping operator Van Berkel Logistics. “I think the disruptions will last for a long time. The capacity is already packed. And where should the extra capacity come from to clear backlogs?'

How do Dutch container logistics companies deal with the pressure? And what are their expectations for this year?

The transporter

William van Beers, road transporter United Container Transport (UCT)

'The chaos in container shipping has taken a toll on UCT. It is impossible to measure the arrival times of container ships, so we have to adapt all the time.'

'When a ship arrives, everyone wants to get the containers. We've had bizarre waiting times. We are now working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to check the arrival times of ships.'

'Because of those very large ships, any flexibility is gone. If a few such ships slow down, the cargo piles up once they arrive in port. The peaks are huge.'

'Usually we plan a morning and an afternoon trip for a truck, because only then can we generate sufficient turnover. But because of the waiting times, it often happens that we can only do one transport per day.'


"I hope we get into calmer waters, but I don't see it changing quickly in 2022. Another year of wear and tear will not appeal to many planners and drivers'


“I don't see it changing any time soon in 2022. If we cannot unload at storage sheds at night, there will be congestion in the chain. I hope we get into calmer waters. Another year of wear and tear will not appeal to many planners and drivers.'

“They are on the phone day and night to solve problems, but those problems keep coming back. They keep lagging behind the facts.'

'How can we organize the logistics better? Make good agreements more often with all parties without putting your own problems first. I'm not optimistic. We are all loners in the end.”

Read the full article:
Source: Het Financieele Dagblad